Councillor's indigenous call for Yeppoon Aus Day celebrations
THERE has been a whirlwind of debate surrounding the issue of Australia Day celebrations and Livingstone Shire Councillor Adam Belot believes the answer is inclusion.
After a handful of Australian councils made the call to change the celebration date, Cr Belot said he strongly disagreed with their approach to the issue.
Cr Belot believed the date of Australia Day should stay on January 26 but what really needed to change was how it was celebrated.
He believed the answer lied in the opinions of the traditional Darumbal elders of the lands surrounding Livingstone.
Cr Belot said humbly inviting the indigenous community to join the table of committee members who organise Australia Day celebrations would provide the real insight surrounding the debate.
He said he was endeavouring to persuade Livingstone Shire Council to include more indigenous members as an inclusive and respectful Australia Day lay in their ideas.
"We have a very positive relationship with the first Australians and from my understanding they want to be involved," Cr Belot said.
Cr Belot said Isabelle Warcon, a Darumbal elder, stood beside him last year on his ideas for equal inclusion which showed a very powerful message to the public.
He said Livingstone Shire Council had taken some small steps towards the increased representation of indigenous committee members but believed one member was not enough.
"I would like to see a greater representation on the committee and unless we do that we are falling short of providing meaningful involvement," he said.
Cr Belot believed there was a severe imbalance and would support as many indigenous committee members as possible being included to let them lead the organisation of Australia Day.
"The day is the day, but changing what we do on the day would be far more beneficial to mending our relationships and linking cultures together," Cr Belot said.
"I don't think changing the date deals with the facts of history and it doesn't deal with our attitudes towards it.
"What would be more constructive is showing humility to recognise we need to do it better."
(all of Cr Belot's comments are his own opinion).